Ortiz, who retired in 2016, is a special assistant for his former team and also does some broadcast work for Fox Sports. His former Red Sox teammate, Hall of Fame pitcher Pedro Martinez, was similarly critical of Fiers last month.
“Whatever happens in the clubhouse stays in the clubhouse, and Fiers broke the rules,” Martinez told Boston’s WEEI. “I agree with cleaning up the game. I agree that the fact that the commissioner is taking a hard hand on this, but at the same time players should not be the one dropping the whistleblower."
Fiers won a World Series title with the Astros in 2017 before signing a one-year, $6 million contract with the Detroit Tigers that winter and being traded to the Oakland Athletics the following August. The pitcher told the San Francisco Chronicle on Thursday that he has received threats of physical violence since making his comments to the Athletic.
“I’ve dealt with a lot of death threats before,” Fiers said. “It’s just another thing on my plate.”
Fiers told the Chronicle he never considered alerting MLB officials or Astros executives to the scheme during the 2017 season, but is prepared to “take as much punishment” as any of the other players on the Astros’ World Series-winning team. General manager Jeff Lunhow and manager A.J. Hinch were both fired by the Astros in the wake of the league’s investigation, but players were granted immunity in exchange for testimony.
Oakland outfielder Stephen Piscotty told MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM that Fiers was applauded by teammates for his willingness to go on the record to the Athletic.
“We had a team meeting and it was addressed,” Piscotty said Thursday. "Quite frankly, he got a standing ovation from everybody. We think the game is going to be better than it was before.”
Ortiz said the scandal is “going to be a huge distraction for the game for a while,” and that he feels bad for Commissioner Rob Manfred, who has taken heat for his handling of the situation from major league players and NBA star LeBron James.
“People need to chillax, people need to let him do his job, players need to let him do what he thinks is better for the game and for everything else,” Ortiz said.
The Red Sox have been affected by the fallout from the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal more than most teams. In January, Boston Manager Alex Cora, who was the Astros’ bench coach in 2017, and the Red Sox “mutually agreed to part ways.” MLB is conducting a separate investigation into allegations that the Red Sox used their video replay room to steal signs during the 2018 season, which culminated in Boston winning the World Series.